Example Proving We are Never Safe

In the teasing dark of morning,

girl with hands dried like the white-dust rot

of forgotten orange stands under the lamp-light

rays at the station’s farthest end,

where men with hoodie strings pulled taut

like police nooses smoke joints not-so-secretly,

where men in suits pace before dates

or job interviews or just because

man is known to love walking over

the most ground he can.

Girl with body like a dagger wrapped

in dining cloth slips her phone out of pocket,

checks train times, counts seconds before

speed walk along sparking train slowing

before landing where lone man stands,

glancing through girl’s shadow

into some simile or metaphor of world

where girl wants him or maybe knows his name.

Girl with head like a burst grape, ear canals gushing

with headphone-hip-hop to beat

the winter down, joins man on platform

at the minute the train is due, circumferences him

like a gnashing gator stands at his feet, like his hands

are Floridian deep water glossed with moss

and flies. Like touch from man is drowning

if it holds you long enough. Man pools

into girl’s vision with a claiming wave of hand.

When is the train due?


Maybe we should move to the other side.

When the tracks have snow on them,

it means they’re not using the tracks.

                                                           It’s snowing.

It’s actually not heavy enough to sit

on the tracks like this, considering the

trains run often. I’m serious, the tracks

aren’t being—

Man talks like girl isn’t oozing back into herself,

like girl and man at trainstop in morning are likely

friends. Girl holding twenty-three years

of misplaced trust like dead deer dragging

enters train on the right side at the right time,

cradles her head like the man’s glance is an arrow

through it, cinches her hood over hat embroidered

with workplace logo, with red-apple target bobbing

to train-rustle, to headphone rapper’s fast lips clapping

like bear trap, Baby, you love me so. You just

don’t know it yet.

“example proving we are never safe” is a poem I wrote in 2019. It was published in the feministic series at a) glimpse) of), which you can read online.